CHAPTER THREE: CRYING
Willow Rosenburg, amateur Wiccan, watched with tears in her eyes as her best friend lay curled in a ball, sleeping restlessly. Her best friend, Buffy Summers, had come to her a week ago, bruised and sobbing and Willow’s heart had broken for the girl. It had taken nearly two hours for Buffy to get out the entire story about what had happened with Angelus and Acathla, as well as the saga of her mother finding out about the Slayer, her expulsion and then having to kill Angel rather than the evil Angelus.
Willow had done the only thing any best friend could do. She’d opened up her arms and hugged Buffy as tightly as possible and given her a place to stay for as long as she needed it.
Willow had then gone to Giles for help on what to do for her best friend, and the Watcher had tried to speak to Joyce Summers, but Joyce was adamant that what she said still stood. Buffy couldn’t even think about returning home just yet, but Giles had seen fear in Joyce’s eyes when he’d explained more about the Slaying. The Watcher understood then why it was that Joyce wouldn’t let her daughter return. It had nothing to do with not loving the girl, it was that Joyce Summers was scared of what her daughter could do, and the fact that she could die on any given day.
And so it was that Willow continued to watch her best friend try to sleep. But the nightmares continued to plague the Slayer, and the voice of her lover crying out her name in confusion and betrayal broke her heart even further. And there was nothing anyone could do for her.
She had been close to leaving Sunnydale, but she knew that if she left them to fend for themselves she’d be sentencing them to death. And that was not something that she would be able to live with.
The seventeen-year-old Slayer awoke with a start, crying out for her beloved “Angel!”
Willow was at her side in seconds, holding her in a tight hug. Buffy swallowed hard as the memories hit her of what she’d been forced to do. She buried her face in Willow’s shoulder and clung on tightly. Willow rocked them and Buffy just let herself be held until her heartbeat had calmed down and she could once again breath properly.
“You okay?” Willow whispered in the darkness.
Buffy smiled at her friend’s concern, thankful that the redhead hadn’t abandoned her after the previous week’s events.
“I will be,” Buffy replied honestly. She knew it would take time, but she also knew that Angel wouldn’t have wanted her to let her entire world collapse because of him. It was so tempting to let the darkness claim her. To go out on patrol one night with no weapons and let a vampire’s kiss be the last thing she remembered. But that wouldn’t be honouring her love’s memory, and that would be the final betrayal.
In her head she knew that she’d had to kill Angel. There’s been no other way to close the gateway that would suck the world into hell. In her head she knew it was better to sacrifice one person that she loved than to damn the entire world, including Angel. It had been the right thing to do, and she logically knew that. But her heart still wept bitterly at the loss, and her breath would still get caught in her chest, a sick feeling in her stomach as she remembered her Angel reaching out to her in his last moments.
Willow knew that neither of them would be able to sleep again for the night so she bounced a little to wake herself up.
“You wanna go visit Xander today?” Willow asked. “I don’t think he and Cordelia had any plans. We could go to the beach maybe.”
Buffy nodded, knowing that the contact with her friends would be good for her. “Yeah, that’d be good. You should call Oz, see if he wants to come too.”
Willow grinned at the thought of her musician boyfriend turned werewolf. Just the thought of him never failed to get a smile on her face.
The two girls lay back down on their beds, or in Buffy’s case, the mattress on the floor beside Willow’s bed, and chatted quietly until they drifted back to sleep, Buffy thankful for the normalcy that Willow offered her. It wasn’t that Willow acted as though nothing had happened, but she wasn’t walking on eggshells not to mention it. And talking about the better memories with Angel had helped Buffy tremendously to remember her gentle lover rather than have the memories of a taunting Angelus stuck in her mind.
And so it was that the previous week had passed, with Willow and her other friends helping her to heal over the loss of Angel. They were a comforting balm to her soul and she was grateful for them. But she missed her mom, and if she was honest, she missed having her dad around as well. But her mother wouldn’t allow her home, and she didn’t know where her father was anymore. And while Giles was a great substitute father, part of her ached to be back with her family.
There was something about being near a family member that made her heart hum in happiness. She didn’t know what it was exactly, but it was part of the same senses that allowed her to tell when there where vampires close by. Ever since she’d been Called, she’d been able to tell where her mother was close by, and she’d felt comforted by it.
The strange thing was, when she’d visited her father the summer before, she’d never once felt that same vibe. She’d assumed it was because he wasn’t on the hellmouth, but when he’d visited her one weekend, she hadn’t been able to feel it then either. It was strange and disappointing, and she wondered what it meant, but she’d never been able to ask her mother about it. And now, she definitely couldn’t ask her about it.
As she began drifting back to sleep, all she could hope was that she would be let back into her house soon, and that the bond she’d always felt with what remained of her family would be reformed.